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BREAKING: Drug Cartel: Buhari Directs Malami Intervene In Zainab’s Case In Saudi Arabia

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Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to immediately intervene in the case of Zainab Aliyu, the student detained by the Saudi Arabia authorities over drug-related charges.

Aliyu, a student of Maitama Sule University, Kano, was arrested by Saudi authorities on December 26, 2018, for allegedly traveling with luggage containing unlawful substance believed to be tramadol.

Zainab had traveled through the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) for lesser Hajj with her mother, Maryam, and sister, Hajara.

A petition filed by Aliyu’s family later led the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to uncover a cartel at MAKIA which specialized in planting illicit drugs in travelers’ luggage.

The arrest of seven members of the cartel led to the discovery that the tramadol-bearing luggage was planted on Aliyu without her knowledge.

“Based on the investigation carried out, it has been revealed that the said Zainab Habibu Aliyu was not the owner of the second luggage tagged in her name,” an NDLEA report read.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, disclosed that Buhari gave the directive two weeks ago when the matter was brought to his attention.

In a statement Abdur-Rahman Balogun, media aide to Dabiri-Erewa, quoted the presidential aide as saying: “President Muhammadu Buhari gave the directive immediately the matter was brought to his attention about two weeks ago.

“My office has been working with the AGF as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in that regard.”

She assured that progress was being made in Zainab’s case along with two others in similar circumstances in Saudi Arabia.

Dabiri Erewa said that Zainab, though detained, had not been put on trial by the Saudi Arabia government. And with the hard evidence that those who implicated her had been arrested, a strong legal case was being made to the Saudi authorities

Mr. Habib Aliyu, the father of the alleged drug courier, Zainab Aliyu, had appealed to the Federal government, the Saudi authorities and the international community as well as well-meaning individuals to intervene in her daughter’s case and save the ‘innocent’ lady from being executed wrongly.

Aliyu, who is not happy that his daughter is cooling off in a Saudi Prison despite the recent discovery that she was framed up by some drug cartel, explained that the allegations of Zainab entering the country with tramadol, was absolute falsehood as recent events and arrests had confirmed the girl’s innocence. (The Sun)

 

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Execution Of Nigerian In Saudi: Pathetic, Tragic – Abike Dabiri-Erewa |The Republican News

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said execution of a Nigerian woman by Saudi Arabia Government over drug-related matters was pathetic and tragic.

Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora (TheNation)
Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora (TheNation)

 

Dabiri-Erewa said in a statement by her Media aide, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, on Tuesday in Abuja, that the news of the tragedy was painful.

According to her, it is regrettable that in spite of wise counsel for Nigerians travelling to Saudi Arabia by relevant government agencies to obey the countrys laws, some Nigerians still go and foul the law.

Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora (ElitesNigeria)

This particular execution is very worrisome, especially when over eight Nigerians have been killed in the past few years over the same issue in Saudi Arabia, she said.

The presidents aide disclosed that no fewer than 20 Nigerians were currently on death row in Saudi Arabia and that many were in prisons serving various jail terms.

Our major concern, however,is whether the trial was fair to the convicts as it was not open and some of them were said to be implicated without a defence counsel.

Dabiri-Erewa said that Nigerian government had made pleas on behalf of some Nigerians, to the Saudi Arabia government, to temper justice with mercy, but that it had not yielded positive results.

We are not saying our citizens in Saudi Arabia should be committing crimes, but we want Saudi Arabia to temper justice with mercy especially on offences that carry capital punishment.

We are appealing again to our citizens to avoid crime and criminality in Saudi Arabia and other countries and be good ambassadors to Nigeria anywhere they go, she said.

Saudi Arabias Interior Ministry had said that four persons, including one woman, were executed on Monday for drug trafficking, bringing to 53 the number of persons put to death for offences with capital punishment this year.

Two Pakistani men, a Yemeni man and a Nigerian woman were executed in the holy city of Makkah, the ministry said ina statement.

In 2018, Saudi Arabia carried out death sentences on 120 persons for dealing in illicit drugs and some other related offences.  (NAN)

 

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Britain Went Ahead To Seek Arms Deals With Saudi Arabia After Murder Of Khashoggi Which It Condemned |RN

Theresa May standing next to a vase of flowers on a table       © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited 

 

The British government pursued arms deals with Saudi Arabia in the weeks after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, even as it publicly condemned the murder.

Khashoggi was killed by Saudi officials inside the country’s consulate in Istanbul on 2 October, prompting global condemnation and calls for a re-evaluation of ties with the Kingdom.

As the UK government called for answers over the dissident’s death, British trade officials responsible for arms sales continued to hold high-level meetings with their Saudi counterparts.

A delegation from the Defence and Security Organisation – an office within the Department for International Trade that promotes arms exports for UK companies – travelled to Riyadh on 14 and 22 October, according to a Freedom of Information request obtained by the Mirror newspaper.

The latter of those meetings came on the same day as the foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, condemned Khashoggi’s killing “in the strongest possible terms” in a speech to parliament.

“Whilst we will be thoughtful and considered in our response, I have also been clear that if the appalling stories we are reading turn out to be true, they are fundamentally incompatible with our values and we will act accordingly,” Mr Hunt said on October 22.

The foreign secretary made a point of announcing the cancellation of a planned visit to Riyadh by the trade secretary, Liam Fox. However, he did not disclose that meetings over arms sales were still taking place.

Even before the murder of Khashoggi, the UK government had been under pressure to halt arms exports to Saudi Arabia over alleged war crimes and rising civilian casualties in Yemen.

Riyadh intervened in Yemen’s civil war in 2015 to reinstate the internationally recognised government of Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who was ousted by Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

The fighting has killed at least 10,000 civilians – most of whom were victims of airstrikes carried out by the Saudi-led coalition – and left nearly 16 million people on the brink of famine.

The coalition has admitted causing civilian casualties, but attributes the deaths to “unintentional mistakes”, and says it is committed to upholding international law. The Houthis have also targeted civilians throughout the conflict, according to the UN.

Since the war began, the UK has licensed £4.7 billion worth of weapons to Saudi forces, making it by far the largest buyer of UK arms. Khashoggi’s killing brought new pressure on the British government to reassess its ties to Saudi Arabia, after Germany and Norway halted all future arms sales to Riyadh.

“Jeremy Hunt was quick to join the condemnations of the killing, but he has done nothing to stop the arms sales. How many more atrocities and abuses would it take for him to act?” said Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade.

“It has used these weapons to devastating effect in Yemen, where the Saudi-led coalition have inflicted the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. The murder of Jamal Khashoggi was yet another appalling crime by the Saudi authorities.”

Even as more evidence has emerged pointing to the culpability of the Saudi government in Khashoggi’s killing, the UK appears to have made no substantial change to its relationship.

British prime minister Theresa May held face-to-face talks last month with Mohammed Bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de-facto leader whose close aides carried out the killing and subsequently attempted to cover it up.

The prime minister said she stressed “the importance of a full, transparent and credible investigation into the terrible murder” during her meeting with the Crown Prince at the G20 summit in Argentina. But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn accused Ms May of not following through with action.

“Rather than be robust, as she promised, we learned the Prime Minister told the dictator ‘please don’t use the weapons we are selling you in the war you’re waging’ and asked him nicely to investigate the murder he allegedly ordered,” Mr Corbyn said last month.

“Leaders should not just offer warm words against human rights atrocities but back up their words with action,” he added.

Mr Hunt has defended arms sales to Saudi Arabia, citing Britain’s “important strategic partnership” with the country “which has saved lives on the streets of Britain.”

The Saudi meetings are not the first time that Britain has been criticised for putting trade before human rights concerns. British academic Matthew Hedges was detained for months in the United Arab Emirates and accused of spying on behalf of the UK.

During the five months Mr Hedges was held in solitary confinement, Mr Hunt called the arrest “appalling” and criticised the UAE publicly. Behind the scenes, however, high-level trade meetings continued apace. Liam Fox, the trade secretary, Baroness Rona Fairhead, UK Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion and Alistair Burt, Britain’s Minister for the Middle East, all met with UAE officials to drum up trade between the two countries.

Polly Truscott, Amnesty International UK’s foreign affairs expert, told The Independent in November that the UK has “long given the impression that security and trade interests trump human rights concerns in the UAE.”

“With Matthew Hedges’ case, it almost seems to have come as a surprise to the government that the UAE actually locks up people after deeply unfair trials,” she said.

The Freedom of Information request by the Mirror found that the 14 October talks focused on “Riyadh Operations Centre requirements,” which is likely a reference to the operations centre where Saudi strikes against Yemen are coordinated.

Commenting on the meetings with Saudi officials, a government spokesperson told The Independent: “The government takes its export responsibilities very seriously, operating one of the most robust export control regimes in the world. Risks around human rights abuses are a key part of any licensing assessment.

“Visits by officials from the UK will continue to play a role in maintaining our relationship with Saudi Arabia including in how we work together to tackle regional threats, and support mutual national security and prosperity interests.”

(Independent)

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Young Saudi Crown Prince Tightens Grip On Power At Home, Abroad In Shocking 24hrs

       © Provided by Business Insider Prince Muhammad bin Salman (Getty)

BEIRUT—It was a weekend of political earthquakes in Saudi Arabia, with tremors felt domestically and across the Middle East, as a faction led by the audacious 32-year-old Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman—son of the reigning King Salman—embarked on a stunning power play against rivals at home and abroad.The first of Saturday’s dizzying developments came when Lebanese prime minister and Saudi ally Saad al-Hariri used the occasion of a visit to the Kingdom’s capital, Riyadh, to announce his resignation, thereby toppling his own government and unraveling the fragile power-sharing arrangement that had kept the often-turbulent Mediterranean state relatively quiet for the 11 months since his cabinet was formed last December.Hariri’s uncharacteristically militant speech, broadcast exclusively on Saudi’s Al-Arabiya TV, blasted the “evil” of Iran and its Lebanese “arm” Hezbollah, insinuating the latter was plotting to kill him, as it stands accused of murdering his father, former Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri, in 2005.

“[Iran] does not descend on a place but that it plants strife and destruction and ruin therein … driven by a concealed hatred for the Arab people, and an indomitable desire to destroy and control them. … We live in a climate resembling that which prevailed shortly before the assassination of the Martyr Rafiq al-Hariri. I have become aware of a covert intrigue targeting my life.”It now falls, constitutionally, to Lebanon’s parliament to consult with President Michel Aoun—himself a close Hezbollah ally—on the appointment of a new prime minister; a process likely to drag on for months, and possibly years (Lebanon’s recent presidential vacuum, for comparison’s sake, lasted two years and six months, from April 2014 to October 2016).

That surprise was soon followed by reports a long-range ballistic missile fired by Iranian-backed militants in Yemen had been intercepted by U.S.-made Patriot defense systems near the Saudi capital’s airport.

That in turn was followed by the evening’s dramatic final act: the shock revelation that dozens of prominent Saudi princes, ministers, and businessmen, including the flamboyant billionaire investor Prince al-Waleed bin Talal—a shareholder in Apple, Twitter, Citigroup, and London’s Savoy hotel, among many others—had been arrested on corruption charges, with additional senior officials fired from their posts.

The developments may, on their face, appear to have little in common. But analysts are in broad agreement that the thread binding them together is the crown prince’s campaign to consolidate power domestically and region-wide; a fundamental component of which is a renewed pushback against chief nemesis Iran’s extensive and growing influence across the Arab world, most notably in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Lebanon.

“The [Hariri] move clearly points to a Saudi will to start confronting Iran in a new theater, Lebanon, that was [hitherto] neutralized,” said Joseph Bahout, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Middle East Program, who forecast in an article last month that Riyadh would soon step up confrontation with Iran inside Lebanon.

“By ending the deal producing the government where Hezbollah is a major partner, Riyadh has decided to isolate the party, its backer [Iran], and force it to face consequences,” Bahout added to The Daily Beast.

Tony Badran, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, agreed it was “very clear [Hariri’s resignation] was a Saudi move,” highlighting Saudi displeasure with Hariri’s acquiescence in a string of policies favorable to Hezbollah during his tenure, including a creeping normalization of official relations with the Bashar al-Assad regime in Damascus.

“He gave them everything they wanted, and then some. And when he didn’t, they didn’t care; they moved anyway … until it got so embarrassing that I guess the Saudis said we need to pull the plug now,” Badran told The Daily Beast.

What happens next in Lebanon, however, is less clear, according to both Bahout and Badran. While a number among the Twitter commentariat predict doomsday scenarios, Badran argues there are in reality few tangible options for Saudi to further hurt Iran’s position in Beirut, beyond economic measures such as sanctions against Lebanese individuals deemed affiliates of Hezbollah in the Gulf—including Christian members of President Aoun’s movement.

As for the arrests and dismissals of the major Saudi figures in Riyadh, the motivation and implications appear twofold. On the one hand, Muhammad bin Salman’s anti-corruption rhetoric—and now action—has proven popular with many Saudis, even those otherwise critical of the crown prince’s governance.

“Selective accountability is imperfect justice, yet … what happened yesterday was very great,” tweeted Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist now living in self-imposed exile, who less than two months ago attacked Bin Salman’s “shocking” and “extreme” crackdown on dissent in a widely read Washington Post op-ed.

On the other hand, some of the figures targeted appear to have been selected less for their financial than their political profiles. Most conspicuous of these is now-deposed 65-year-old National Guard Minister Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah, a favored son of the late King Abdullah, who was once considered a natural heir to the throne. Another was navy commander Admiral Abdullah bin Sultan bin Muhammad al-Sultan. (The Daily Beast)

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HAJJ: 2 Male Kano Pilgrims Die In Saudi Arabia |The Republican News

Mecca-Saudi-Arabia

Makkah, Saudi Arabia

Two pilgrims from Kano State have died during the 2017 Hajj in Saudi Arabia, the  State Pilgrims Welfare Board said on Thursday.

The Board’s Public Relations Officer, Alhaji Nuhu Badamasi told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the telephone from Makkah that the deceased who were males died in Makkah after performing their Hajj rites at the Ararat.

“The two pilgrims who lost their lives during this year’s Hajj died in Makkah after they performed the most significant Hajj rites, that is staying at the Arafat,” he said.

Badamasi said the deceased who were from Dala and Doguwa local government areas, had since been buried in Makkah in accordance with the Islamic rites.

On preparations for the transportation of the state pilgrims back to Nigeria, Badamasi said the exercise would commence on Sept. 15.

He said most of the pilgrims had visited Madinah while the few that had not, were now preparing to go from Makkah.

“Almost all our pilgrims have visited Madinah with the exception of about 15 officials who are now preparing to visit the Holy city from where they will be transported back home,” the spokesman added.

No fewer than 5, 500 pilgrims from the state performed the Hajj. (NAN)

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